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How Halifax Measures Up

The Halifax Index is a definitive report on Halifax's economic and community progress.

Reporting on Progress

The Halifax Index tells our city’s story — the strength of our economy, the health of our community, and the sustainability of our environment — and provides insights for actions that strengthen and grow our city and businesses.

The Halifax Index and the Halifax Economic Growth Plan 2016-21 are closely linked. The Index serves as the city's report card on our progress toward the Growth Plan goals.

The Index primarily benchmarks Halifax against six other similar size Canadian cities (St. John’s, Quebec City, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (KCW), London, Regina and Victoria), comparing Halifax’s growth across a range of 70 key indicators, and providing analysis on what's required to achieve better results.

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Key Findings

Gain key insights about Halifax's progress and performance across the three major themes of people, economy, and quality of place.


  • Following two very strong years for population growth, a new record was set in 2018 with a 2.0% increase. Over the past three years Halifax’s population has swelled by more than 22,000 people.
  • For the third year in a row, international immigration was far above the long-term average.
  • Halifax saw its labour force participation rate increase for the first time since 2009. As well, after three years of annual labour force growth below 1.0%, 2018 saw an increase of 8,000 workers, a 3.3% jump.


  • Halifax’s GDP grew by 1.6% in 2018. Among our benchmark cities Halifax ranked fourth in terms of 2018 GDP growth, behind Quebec City, Victoria, and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (KCW), but ahead of Regina and St. John’s.
  • After reaching a record high last year, the Business Confidence Index for Halifax was essentially unchanged in our spring 2019 survey. The shares of surveyed businesses expecting to increase sales, hire additional staff, make a major investment in facilities or equipment, and make a major investment in research and development remain significantly above long-term averages.
  • In 2018, Halifax surpassed its record for cruise ship visits and total number of cruise passengers for the second year in a row and posted the most successful conference year in the city’s history. Total overnight room bookings grew by 14%, marking six straight years of growth in room bookings.

Quality of Place

  • Construction on residential rental units reached a historic high in 2018, yet demand is so strong for rental units that vacancy rates are still going down. In 2018, Halifax’s average apartment rent grew by 2.1%, the third highest increase among the benchmark cities, but still below the Canadian average of 3.4%.
  • As of spring 2019, Halifax Transit charged the least (or in some cases a tie for the least) for single tickets, monthly passes, senior fares, and child fares for all six benchmark cities. Halifax and Victoria are the only two of the six benchmark cities that do not have a reloadable card or digital payment system.
  • Over the past decade, Halifax has experienced only 10 days of Air Quality Advisories, the second lowest figure among the six benchmark cities. In comparison, St. John’s had only three, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Regina, and Victoria each had approximately 30, and Quebec City had almost 150.



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